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Post Doctoral Research Scholar
This is a two-year post-doctoral appointment (with possible renewal of 1 year) to provide advance research training to individuals with a doctoral degree in the biological sciences and to further the basic and translational research goals in the Children's Research Institute.
The postdoctoral research fellow will conduct high quality research in basic and translational science to identify effective therapies for Hedgehog (Hh)-subtype medulloblastoma (MB) that circumvent the deleterious side effects caused by surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Our lab conducted molecular gene expression studies that identified 4 major subtypes of MB tumors and developed a mouse model for high incidence, early onset, Hh subtype MB. Using this model, we demonstrated that oral delivery of small molecule inhibitors of Smoothened (Smo), called GDC-0449 or vismodegib, eliminated even large spontaneous brain tumors in mice. We worked with Curis Inc., and later Genentech Inc., to demonstrate proof-of-concept of the use of Hh inhibitors in cancer. This work led to successful Phase I and II clinical trials of Smo inhibitors in pediatric and adult MB that recapitulated all the major findings obtained in mice. Because of our efforts, the first Smo inhibitor (vismodegib) was approved for treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma in 2012. The next step is to focus on targeting drug-resistant brain tumors using in vitro high throughput drug repurposing screening in conjunction with mouse models for MB and drug-resistant MB, drug delivery therapies, next generation sequencing, and develop new drugs for clinical trials in pediatric brain cancer.
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